February 5, 2017 - Vancouver Art Gallery - Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures
February 5, 2017

Vancouver Art Gallery

Alison Yip, Gazebo, 2016. Site-specific mural at the Vancouver Art Gallery, produced for Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures. Courtesy of the artist and Monte Clark Gallery. Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery.
 

Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures
December 3, 2016–April 17, 2017

Forum: February 25, 1–5pm
UBC Robson Square Theatre C300

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street
Vancouver BC V6Z 2H7
Canada

www.vanartgallery.bc.ca
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures
December 3, 2016–April 17, 2017

Forum: February 25, 1–5pm
UBC Robson Square Theatre C300

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street
Vancouver BC V6Z 2H7
Canada

www.vanartgallery.bc.ca
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures, the inaugural edition of its new triennial. On view at the Gallery from now to April 17, 2017, this exhibition offers a comprehensive survey of the city’s contemporary art scene and its shifts since the 2010 Winter Olympics, featuring artworks ranging from painting, drawing, animation, ceramics, textiles, audio and installation. Ambivalent Pleasures is co-curated by Daina Augaitis, Vancouver Art Gallery’s Chief Curator/Associate Director, and guest curator Jesse McKee, Head of Strategy at 221A, Vancouver.

Over a four-month period in the spring of 2016, the curators conducted over 90 studio visits, mostly with emerging artists, but also with a few established artists whose ideas have been prescient. The range of participants echoes the breadth of Vancouver’s vibrant art community. The result is a multigenerational exhibition that will engage its visitors through a myriad of styles, approaches and practices.

Since its inception in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery has regularly organized survey exhibitions of local art. Building on this robust history, which began with the BC Annuals (1932–68) and continued with significant curatorial projects of recent decades, the Gallery now introduces Vancouver Special, a survey exhibition that will occur every three years. The triennial model offers a sustained engagement with the contemporary artists who make Vancouver a dynamic art community. The title of this initiative, Vancouver Special, is borrowed from the housing archetype that was popular in Vancouver between the 1960s and '80s. Originally affordable and easily adaptable, this regional house style is experiencing renewed attention in the midst of the current housing crisis.    

Works included in Ambivalent Pleasures offer a number of overlapping conversations. Central to these dialogues are three ideas:

–A number of artists engage with Surrealist strategies and ideas. They explore the unconscious and diverse modes of perception, speaking to notions of alienation, escape, romanticism and even the grotesque. In some instances, the works exude a comic tone; in others, a sense of the uncanny points to spirits of unrest that lurk beneath the surface.

–Several artists present a range of approaches to abstraction. This naturally includes a number of painters, as well as sculptors and artists working with textiles who implicate the meaning of gesture or the history of modern painting without necessarily putting brush to canvas.

–Other artists are invested in the possibilities of working conceptually to address today’s social contexts. Questioning dominant systems of knowledge, these artists make sense of the world through material processes, recurrent gestures and other types of interventions.

Participating artists
Derya Akay, Maya Beaudry, Raymond Boisjoly, Eli Bornowsky, Rebecca Brewer, Colleen Brown, Matt Browning, Mark Delong, Kim Dorland, Barry Doupé, Michael Drebert, Julia Feyrer, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Tamara Henderson, Colleen Heslin, Julian Hou, Allison Hrabluik, Gareth James, Garry Neill Kennedy, Tiziana La Melia, Khan Lee, Arvo Leo, Lyse Lemieux, Glenn Lewis, Anne Low, Elizabeth McIntosh, Jordan Milner, Antoni Oko, Ryan Peter, Sylvain Sailly, Rachelle Sawatsky, Walter Scott, Krista Belle Stewart, Angela Teng, Mina Totino, Ron Tran, Tristan Unrau, Charlene Vickers, Brent Wadden and Alison Yip

Click here for artists biographies. 

Curators

Daina Augaitis has been Chief Curator/Associate Director at the Vancouver Art Gallery since 1996, where she works with a team of curators to conceive and develop the Gallery’s exhibitions, publications, collections and public programs. Among the solo exhibitions she has curated or co-curated are those by Rebecca Belmore, Douglas Coupland, Stan Douglas, Charles Edenshaw, Geoffrey Farmer, Bharti Kher, Kimsooja, Muntadas, Brian Jungen, Ian Wallace and Zhu Jinshi. She was formerly Director of the Visual Arts Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where she organized thematic residencies for artists and curators, as well as spoken word, pirate radio and performance art projects, and has held curatorial positions at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; the Western Front, Vancouver; Convertible Showroom, Vancouver; and Franklin Furnace, New York.

Jesse McKee is the Head of Strategy at 221A, Vancouver. He is responsible for the organization’s research-based programming model and for aligning all aspects of 221A’s work with a strategic plan that develops self-organized cultural infrastructures. Previously, McKee was Curator at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, and Exhibitions Curator at the Western Front, Vancouver. He has developed new commissions with artists such as Lee Kit, Tamara Henderson and Julia Feyrer, Andrea Büttner and Neïl Beloufa. He recently was a curatorial resident with tranzit.org, Romania, and curated Stopping the Sun in its Course, a group exhibition on contemporary depictions of the grotesque at Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles (2015).

Catalogue
This exhibition is accompanied by a 144-page book, co-published by the Vancouver Art Gallery and Black Dog Publishing. It features the artworks included in the exhibition, as well as texts by the curators and contributions from Andrew Berardini, Steffanie Ling and Kim Nguyen, as well as interviews with scholar Richard William Hill and writer William Gibson.

About the Vancouver Art Gallery
Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery is recognized as one of North America’s most respected and innovative visual arts institutions. The Gallery’s innovative ground-breaking exhibitions, extensive public programs and emphasis on advancing scholarship all focus on the historical and contemporary art of British Columbia and international centres, with special attention to the accomplishments of First Nations artists and the art of the Asia Pacific region¬—through the Institute of Asian Art founded in 2014. The Gallery’s programs also explore the impacts of images in the larger sphere of visual culture, design and architecture.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is a not-for-profit organization supported by its members, individual donors, corporate funders, foundations, the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Media contact
Debra Zhou, Communications Manager
dzhou [​at​] vanartgallery.bc.ca / T 604 662 4722

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